The Alliance MP said Mr Hutchinson’s comments, in which he also claimed that victims Michael Loughran and Edward Morgan had links to the IRA, called into question whether he had a genuine commitment to achieving reconciliation.
“There can never be any reasoning for the taking of life or injuring of people. The use of violence was wrong during the Troubles and remains wrong today,” said the East Belfast MP.
“For Mr Hutchinson to try to justify violence with his suggestion that it was a constructive move will do nothing but poison our present and our future and cause further grief and pain to victims’ relatives.
“There appears to be a lack of any remorse or compassion displayed by many former paramilitaries across the board, which is profoundly offensive, particularly when it relates to cold-blooded murder such as this. For those who participated in these activities and who now aspire to or are charged with political leadership to fail to show even basic regret for the pain inflicted by their actions shows nothing more than a callous disregard for victims and a non-existence of any true desire to achieve understanding and reconciliation.
“It also sends out a dangerous message of encouragement and justification to those still engaged in violence today. We have the right to expect better from our politicians across the board, and I think that Mr Hutchinson would do well to reflect on the pain caused not just at the time but by his continued attempts to justify the unjustifiable.”